Though they are just interns, Emma Chow ’15 and Dan Lipkowitz ’14 have already seen their contributions making an impact on Maine’s environment. This summer, the two students have grants from Bowdoin’s Environmental Studies program to work at The Nature Conservancy’s field office in Brunswick.
“The first week we got there, they immediately threw us into the mix,” Lipkowitz said. As the Conservancy’s policy intern, he was asked to write up persuasive, forceful talking points for a proposed clean water bond. Several days later, at the Augusta statehouse, Conservancy staff used Lipkowitz’s arguments in their testimony in support of the bill. “It was cool seeing my work go into something real,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chow, as The Nature Conservancy’s marketing intern, was asked to draft a blog post for the executive director in support of pending legislation that would direct the Department of Environmental Protection to resume its study on climate change. That post was published in the Portland Press Herald June 8.
I want to accomplish things that do good in this world. I’m looking to contribute to Maine and to the environmental world.”
—Dan Lipkowitz ’14
Every summer, the McKeen Center and the E.S. program select students to intern for 10 weeks at organizations throughout Maine that serve disadvantaged populations or the environment. The students are awarded Community Matters in Maine, Psi Upsilon or Logan Environmental fellowships and are placed in selected positions. This grant program enables students to address community issues and explore the public sector while strengthening the College’s community partnerships.
Chow said she was attracted to The Nature Conservancy because of its global presence, size and impact. Lipkowitz agreed that the track record of the nonprofit was a draw. “The Nature Conservancy is an expansive group; it has a lot going on in the environmental world,” he said. “And they have results, tangible results you can see. You can see good being done.”
I am interested in learning more about the intersection of business, nonprofits and government in addressing environmental issues related to corporate sustainability.”
—Emma Chow ’15
Besides working on a number of day-to-day tasks, both Chow and Lipkowitz have been assigned longer-term projects with a national reach. Chow is putting together an outdoor recreation inventory for all 50 states that will both “qualitatively and quantitatively communicate the economic benefits derived from [these] activities on The Conservancy’s properties,” she said. Lipkowitz is analyzing land and water conservation funds run by the federal government to see how the money is distributed. The funds go to states with many acres of conserved land to offset the loss of property tax revenue. Both of the students’ research projects will aid The Nature Conservancy’s lobbying efforts to preserve land and water and to maintain these environmental funding programs.
The two students have also been pulled out of the office occasionally to see different Conservancy projects or to visit other Maine environmental organizations. On one of these field trips, they visited one of the Conservancy’s preserves in Georgetown. Later they will help create information guides and, possibly, downloadable podcast guides for this site.
Chow said she hopes her summer will give her more clarity about her career. As an economics and environmental studies major, she said, “I am interested in learning more about the intersection of business, nonprofits and government in addressing environmental issues related to corporate sustainability. …The Nature Conservancy is expanding its corporate engagement efforts, so I am hoping to learn from their projects even though I am not directly working with them.”
Lipkowitz, an E.S. and government major, said he is excited to learn more about environmental policy and to explore the different issues addressed by people in the environmental field. “I’m academically passionate about environmental issues and also personally committed to these issues,” he explained. “I want to accomplish things that do good in this world. I’m looking to contribute to Maine and to the environmental world.”